Blue Ridge Parkways Trails and Overlooks into Jackson County North Carolina
Waterrock Knob: Located at Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 451.2 is the Waterrock Knob Overlook and Visitor Center. A short trail from the Visitors Center leads up to the summit and a 360-degree view of the Great Smokies, Great Balsam, Nantahala, and Cowee Mountains. On clear days visitors to the summit can also view the Black, Newfound and Craggies Mountains, including the towering summit of Mount Mitchell, the tallest summit in the Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains.
The views from the Waterrock Visitor Center's mountaintop parking area are outstanding for those not favoring the hike up to Waterrock Knob.
Richland Balsam: Located at milepost 431 is the highest point on the entire Blue Ridge Parkway, at 6,047 feet. From the parking area, hikers can take the Richland Balsam Self-Guiding Trail that winds through a spruce-fir forest up to the 6,292-foot summit of Richland Balsam. However, from the parking area itself, the overlook offers one of the finest mountain and valley views to be found along the entire parkway.
Devil's Courthouse: Located at milepost 422.4, the Devil's Courthouse is a massive, bare-rock mountain summit, steeped in Cherokee folklore. A short hike from the parking area leads up to the open cliff-top and a spectacular view of the valleys below and the mountains beyond. A Cherokee legend claims that an evil mythical character, Judaculla, held court here in a cave just below the summit, passing judgment on those lacking courage and virtue.Black Balsam Bald: Just past the Courthouse Tunnel, north on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 420, is the Black Balsam Trail. This easy 10-minute trail to the summit offers a 360-degree view of surrounding mountaintops, upper valleys, and sections of the parkway weaving off into the distance.
Graveyard Fields: Just over the Jackson County line on the Blue Ridge Parkway, at milepost 418.8, is the unusual Graveyard Fields. The name was derived from what was mistakenly thought to be a field of numerous grave mounds, when in fact, the mounds turned out to be decayed stumps of fallen trees, snapped in two by powerful winds that swept through the area hundreds of years ago. In addition to strong winds, devastating forest fires have historically wreaked havoc on this area.Into this unique high mountain valley, the cascading waters of the Yellowstone Prong slice through the center of Graveyard Fields. Trails from the parking area lead down into the valley below. The overlook from the parking area shows the entire valley, the waterway, and the loop trail system below. There are three sets of waterfalls along the Yellowstone Prong, plus an incredible display of boulders along the watercourse. This uniquely remarkable characteristic makes Graveyard Fields a very popular destination.
Jackson County, where the "Blue Ridge Meets the Smokies," a place where fun comes alive and memories are made.
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